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Stranded

Stranded

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Published by Joshua Allen
Nella is trapped on a space ship unmoored from the very fabric of reality itself. Will she be able to contact her fellow travelers, trapped in their own versions of space and time, or will she die alone, in the black void of space?
Nella is trapped on a space ship unmoored from the very fabric of reality itself. Will she be able to contact her fellow travelers, trapped in their own versions of space and time, or will she die alone, in the black void of space?

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Published by: Joshua Allen on Feb 27, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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03/13/2010

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Strandedby Joshua Allen"It's a perfectly reasonable question, Todd. So answer it," Nellasaid aloud.But there was no Todd to answer. No question had been asked.Nella swiveled her head slowly to look out the portal to herleft. Navigational portal, nothing more. Pick a star and steer by it.Barely big enough to fit a fist through. There was no star to steer bythrough that portal.
The darkest sky that ever was
, she thought wistfully.
Or ever will be for me
.At that she should have started crying, bawling out her fear andloneliness. But she didn't, because she had already played this gameso many times before that the tears were burned out of her.Nothing remained.Their ship--
her 
ship--the
Ninhursag 
, was not that large. Shecould go through all the chambers in just a few minutes. She couldcheck each room, comb over every inch of each room, looking in eventhe smallest crack or imperfection for a single hair or stray patch of
 
skin cells that might signal the presence of another person, all inabout 24 hours. She had done this. Many times.She was alone.Nella smiled broadly, affecting a laugh and really trying to feelit, not just reenact it.
Really feel it
, she told herself.
Be themoment. Be in the moment. Become the moment.
"It's a
 perfectly 
reasonable question, Todd. So answer it."No question. No Todd.Nella tried again. And again."It's a perfectly reasonable question, Todd. So answer it," shesaid without emotion.She mumbled the words again and again."It's a perfectly reasonable question, Todd. So answer it. It's aperfectly reasonable question Todd, so answer it. It's a perfectlyreasonable question Todd so answer it it's a perfectly reasonablequestion Todd so answer it'saperfectly reasonable questiontodd soasnwerit. It's . . ."She stopped herself. This was not helping. It wasn't. She wantedit too, but it was not helping.Nella checked the room of the ship, just a light check. Shechecked beds and mess halls. She did so with eagerness, despite havingchecked many, many times before. She checked the core. Still hot, butnot burning hot--the same as it had been. As it had always been.Final6ly, she took a breath and went into the chamber. Thechamber was a spherical portion in the heart of the ship. It wassuspended in the middle of the ship, like a donut hole sitting in the
Allen/Str anded- 2
 
middle an oversized donut, connected by narrow access tubes. Shecrawled into one tube and knocked on the chamber door at the end.The door was nothing but a small circle that irised open and closedsilently, just big enough for her to put her head through when needed.She knocked again. No answer."I'm coming in Gerald. I'm coming in."She performed a specific combination with her fingers in front ofthe door, like a mute signing to the wall, but with a preciseenunciation of letters. Fingers would lock when they were to bestraight, or curl to exact degrees when they were supposed to curl.She could have measured the angles with a protractor and they wouldhave been perfect round numbers. In fact, children were taught thisway.The door opened.Inside was Gerald.Gerald did not move. Gerald did not blink. Gerald's face waslocked in the same position it had been for hundreds of hours--orhowever one was supposed to measure time in a void."Gerald."Gerald did not move."You'll speak to me this instant, Gerald."Gerald did not speak."Status report, Gerald."Gerald looked terrified. Nella sighed and ceased making demands.She stared at him, interpreting his face and posture despite herself.She had viewed him from every angle of every access tube. She had seen
Allen/Str anded- 3

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